How to Build a Loft

We have a bedroom that is somewhere between 7.5 feet and 8 feet wide (the walls are not parallel) and around 17 feet long. It’s a good size bedroom, but a little longer and less wider than normal.

With such a narrow space, it was the perfect opportunity for a built-in loft.

When I came up with this idea, my priorities were cheap and easy (like they normally are). I knew we had some leftover OSB from the roof and some 2x4s. So that’s where I started.

We had framed in two sides of the room, so I started off by nailing the 2x4s to the framing on those two sides. The loft is 7 feet long and then follows the width of the room. I just nailed in the boards with my nail gun attached to the air compressor. That was all I did by myself. Dillon helped me with the rest.

The third board we used concrete screws and screwed it into the concrete wall (that was slightly more complicated and required two people and a few extra screw holes). We made sure that all the boards were level and flush with each other.

After we that basic frame, we attached joist hangers. I tried to hang one by myself, and it was in the wrong spot and didn’t work well at all. I had to rip it off. Then I looked on the internet on how I was actually supposed to use joist hangers, and realized I was doing it completely wrong. But I learned, and it didn’t take us long to hang them once we sort of knew what we were doing. We had a palm nailer that was very useful for this. (If you are interested on how joist hangers work, there are better sources than this blog.)

I did the 2×4 joists 12 inches apart, and we put a 2×6 across the front of the loft.

After we had the joist hangers, we screwed in some leftover OSB. That was a little trickier to cut because our space isn’t square, but we managed by tracing with a pencil and then re-cutting things when we did it wrong.

And then Dillon built a ladder and I stuck down carpet tiles on top of the OSB. The space currently fits a queen mattress comfortably, but we can do different mattress sizes if we want. Or just leave it open so the kids can play on it. There are options. I like options.

We haven’t finished it yet. We need a safety rail of some sort. And I’m planning on putting paneling or plywood across the bottom to cover the joists. Then sanding/painting–but it works right now, and that’s what matters.

(Note: according to a span calculator, this loft can support at least 30 pounds per square foot, which means that I could have over 1,000 pounds on it and it should be just fine. It feels very study, but I am not a structural engineer nor do I have any training or much knowledge in that field and I probably did something wrong.)

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